Pollsters had to decide how much to penalize the previously undefeated Crimson Tide after its home loss to LSU and how much to reward the idle Hokies after two teams ranked just above them, South Carolina and Nebraska, stumbled.
My fellow Associated Press voters and I concurred. We eased Alabama to No. 4 and jumped Tech above the Gamecocks and Cornhuskers.
That moved the Hokies to No. 10 in the AP poll, No. 12 on my ballot (had them 14th last week). The difference is, I have unbeaten Houston and twice-beaten Michigan State ahead of Virginia Tech.
Am I underrating the Hokies?
Beauty is, we’re about to find out. If they close the regular season with wins over Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia, they’ll stamp themselves as legit top-10s entering an ACC championship reunion with Clemson.
Here’s a link to the full AP poll, and below is my ballot.
3. Stanford (9-0): The Cardinal and new coach David Shaw dismissed Oregon State 38-13 and now prepare for Oregon. The Ducks were the only team to beat Stanford last season, as LaMichael James sprinted for 257 yards and three touchdowns in a 52-31 victory.
6. Boise State (8-0): A 48-21 win over UNLV wasn’t enough to keep the Broncos ahead of Oregon on my ballot. This Boise team, which hosts TCU this week, just doesn’t appear as good as some recent editions.
8. Oklahoma (8-1): The Sooners lost Ryan Broyles, the NCAA’s career receptions leader, to a torn ACL in Saturday’s 41-25 victory over Texas A&M. They have two weeks to prepare for a Nov. 19 date at Baylor.
9. Clemson (8-1): So some twisted soul egged quarterback Tajh Boyd’s house after the loss at Georgia Tech? Oy. The Tigers were idle Saturday and host Wake Forest this week. Win and they clinch the ACC Atlantic Division.
10. Houston (9-0): The nation’s No. 1 passing offense continued to purr in a 56-13 rout of UAB. Thursday’s opponent, Tulane, has lost seven straight. Yikes.
11. Michigan State (7-2): Saturday’s 31-24, come-from-behind win over Minnesota combined with Nebraska’s home loss to Northwestern gives the Spartans control of the Big Ten Legends Division. They head this week to Iowa.
12. Virginia Tech (8-1): Losses by Nebraska and South Carolina bumped the idle Hokies up two spots on my ballot. Thursday’s game at Georgia Tech will determine whether the jump was merited.
13. Penn State (8-1): Tragic can only describe the sexual assault case against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky that has tarnished many in authority at Penn State. Amid the scandal, the Nittany Lions host Nebraska this week.